Political leaders are calling for the Government to axe the first year fees-free tertiary education policy and use the money to pay teachers more instead.

National’s education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says teachers have not been prioritised by this Government and that it has instead chosen to spend $2.8 billion on an unsuccessful fees free policy for tertiary students.

Her comments come after both primary and secondary teacher unions have rejected pay offers from the Ministry of Education.

Secondary school teachers have threatened to strike if the government doesn’t improve its pay offer. Meanwhile primary school teachers are preparing for a second strike.

ACT Leader David Seymour agrees, saying the Government has its priorities back to front.

“The Government spent $275 million on fees-free this year. That money alone could be an extra $5,000 in pay for every teacher up and down this country.

“Despite funnelling $2.8 billion into a policy to break down financial barriers to university education they’ve failed to increase participation at all.

“The Government should admit they got it wrong, scrap fees-free, and focus on providing all kids with a great primary and secondary education so they have the choice of a university education.

“They could start by paying hardworking teachers more and make teaching a career choice for graduates.”


  1. No point having free tertiary education if we don’t have the teachers to educate the children at primary and secondary levels. Free university fees is not the answer to our education issues.


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